Come learn some stuff…

Or maybe you can teach me some stuff instead! I’d like that.

Either way…

Tomorrow, at the Decatur Book Festival, I’ll be leading a workshop. I’m mainly going to focus on why/how character needs to be the driving force in a book.  We’ll talk about why you can’t usually begin with a plot.

In prepping myself, I’ve gone and re-read the awesome  Bill Matthews essay called Dull Subjects. And that inspired me to make this ridiculous claim:

THERE ARE ONLY FOUR PICTURE BOOKS YOU ARE ALLOWED TO WRITE IN THE WORLD!  (not counting educational books, bible stories, and other purpose-driven tales, or really old fables in which people die and stuff. We don’t stand for that anymore.)

The four picture books you can write  (and expect to publish) are:

  1. Someone (or something) cute has a problem, and then solves it
  2. Someone (or something) cute has a problem, and feels safe in the world when someone else solves it.
  3. Someone (or something) unappealing is transformed. Yay!
  4. A series of seemingly random events end nicely, usually in bed.

Eh? Eh?  Prove me wrong.

One Response to “Come learn some stuff…”

  1. R.J. Anderson Says:

    Must… find… exception to these rules…

    EMERGENCY? Gah! No! #4!

    Wiesner’s fourth-wall-breaking version of the THREE LITTLE PIGS? No! #1!

    Aha! CHESTER! Cat has a gigantic feud with the author all over the pages of the picture book she’s trying to illustrate, and has to be put in his place. Unless you define the “Someone cute” as the author, or possibly the mouse who was supposed to be the star of the book…

    Drat, it’s another #1/#2! Or possibly a #3 without the bedtime ending.

    …I hate you.

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